Rob Farley

Rob Rob Farley has been consulting in IT since completing a Computer Science degree with first class honours in 1997. Before moving to Adelaide, he worked in consultancies in Melbourne and London. He runs the development department in one of Australia's leading IT firms, as well as doing database application consultancy and training. He heads up the Adelaide SQL Server User Group, and holds several Microsoft certifications.

Rob has been involved with Microsoft technologies for most of his career, but has also done significant work with Oracle and Unix systems. His preferred database is SQL Server and his preferred language is C#. Recently he has been involved with Microsoft Learning in the US, creating and reviewing new content for the next generation of Microsoft exams.

Over the years, Rob's clients have included BP Oil, OneLink Transit, Accenture, Avanade, Australian Electorial Commission, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Royal Borough of Kingston, Help The Aged, Unisys, Department of Treasury and Finance (Vic), National Mutual, the Bible Society and others.

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09 September 2005

Itzik Ben-Gan

This morning on my way in I started listening to Greg Low's sixth SQL DownUnder podcast. It's an interview with Itzik Ben-Gan. He talks about T-SQL enhancements in SQL 2005, and what excites him about it. I like this guy! I haven't come across him very much, but I do like his thinking.

For example, he talks about using an auxiliary table of numbers, for use in a number of different type of queries. This is something I've done for years - I think as long as I've used databases. It was something I remember looking for in both SQL and Oracle. In Oracle I could use the RowNumber feature to be able to get around it in some cases, but SQL really didn't have an equivalent. Since then, I've tended to create a table called 'nums' in almost every database I've used. It's just SO useful.

I thought it was really interesting to find that Itzik had a Pure Maths background, and that he found an immediate appreciation for the SQL language. I was the same. I did a half-major in Pure Maths at uni, and I even skipped the database subject in my CompSci major. Everyone always said it was easy marks, and I really wasn't interested in that.

With a job offer coming part way through my honours year, I left uni and got into the real world. Immediately, I was faced with databases, and had to learn SQL. It made sense to me straight away. Since then, I've enjoyed using SQL, finding better ways to do things in it, and ways to do better things. I treat it as a puzzle solver (like Itzik does), and I often have problems that are particularly suited to a database approach, rather than using an interative language. I'm the same with Prolog - a language which is great for solving particular types of problems.

I'm not sure if I'll get around to picking up any of Itzik's books, but I will put them on my list of 'books I'm planning to read'. And hopefully he'll come to Adelaide one day, instead of only doing the east coast!!!